9/11 messages
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The events of 9/11 are woven into the fabric of modern society: they brought together individuals from around the world, governments, families, neighbors, and rivals. This powerful unity in the face of terror dramatically reshaped the world in the name of security: multiple military operations, the passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the rise of the National Security Administration (NSA), and the War on Terror.

In the response to this unprecedented level of global surveillance, a new digital era of whistleblowing and leaking secret documents emerged in the name of transparency. In 2009, WikiLeaks released over a half-million text messages which were sent to people’s pagers on 9/11 with the goal of preserving “a completely objective record of the defining moment of our time.” Laying bare the commonplace alongside desperate efforts to find comfort and understanding, this archive crystallizes 24 hours in New York and Washington.

This interactive, searchable visualization will allow the public to explore not only what happened during the event, but also how the event was experienced by Americans, visitors to the city, and many members of the “9/11 diaspora” who were far away but deeply engaged in the unfolding events. This visualization will serve as a long-term memorial, preserving these records for students and researchers, and providing future historians with a window into turning point in history.


This curated dataset does not contain the entire set of messages published by WikiLeaks. All duplicate messages, messages containing only numbers and individual letters, and computer-generated messages have been taken out.